Showing posts from March, 2023

Counterpoint: A Fundamental Technique for Music Composition

If you want to learn more about the history and theory of polyphonic music, consider writing your own cantus firmus composition. A cantus firmus is a pre-existing melody that forms the basis of a polyphonic composition. It is usually a plainchant excerpt or a popular song sung by one voice, often the tenor, while other voices weave around it with different rhythms and melodies. A cantus firmus can have symbolic or musical significance and can be used to create unity and coherence in a complex musical texture. Some examples of composers who used cantus firmus technique are Dufay, Josquin, Palestrina and Bach. One of the most critical parts of counterpoint is learning to internalize the music you hear. You should first aim to audiate the cantus firmus. Once you can clearly hear the music in your mind's ear, you can begin to add the second line. In this way, you should continually develop your ability to hear additional voices as you progress.  In this blog post, we will give you some

Similarities of Classical and Baroque Music

Music has evolved through the centuries and undergone drastic changes. One of the most significant transitions was from the Baroque to the Classical period of music. In this paragraph, I will compare and contrast some of the main features of these two styles, such as ensembles, instrumentation, and counterpoint study. The Baroque and Classical periods of music have many similarities. While the style of music changed drastically, certain key elements remained the same between the two styles. Composers in the Classical period sought to simplify music and create clearly audible musical lines. In contrast, composers from the Baroque period were interested in creating complex and highly ornamented musical lines. The Baroque period occurs from approximately 1600 to 1750, and the Classical period extends from 1750 to 1820. Ensembles Ensembles are groups of musicians that perform together. Both the Baroque and the Classical period had similar types of ensembles, such as operas, orchestras, str

Composing a Melodic Skeleton that Unifies Harmony and Melody - Online Music Composition Lessons

One of the challenges of composing music is to create a coherent and expressive melodic line that fits well with the underlying harmonic structure. A melodic skeleton is a simplified melody that outlines the main notes and intervals defining the harmonic progression. It can help composers to create melodies that are consistent, logical and memorable. A melodic skeleton can be derived from the chord tones, the notes that belong to each chord in the harmony.  For example, if the harmony is C major, G major, A minor and F major, the chord tones are C, E and G for C major; G, B and D for G major; A, C and E for A minor; and F, A and C for F major. These notes form the basic framework of the melody and can be used as starting or ending points for each phrase. However, a melodic skeleton can also include non-chord tones, which are notes that do not belong to the current chord but add variety and interest to the melody. Non-chord tones can be classified into different types according to their

How to Compose an Original Piece with Harmony: Advice from Kevin Ure

If you are interested in composing your own music, you might wonder how to create a coherent and pleasing harmony piece. Harmony combines different pitches that sound simultaneously, creating a sense of depth and richness in music. Harmony can also convey emotions, moods, and styles, depending on how you use it. One of the best ways to learn how to compose with harmony is to get advice from an expert. Kevin Ure is a composer and music theorist who teaches music theory and ear training courses at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is also the instructor of The Composers Studio at, where he offers online lessons and resources for aspiring composers. He has composed several works for various ensembles and solo instruments, such as Soliloquy , The Beast of Gevaudan , and The Garden Tower . In this blog post, we will share some tips from Kevin Ure on how to compose an original piece with harmony. These tips are based on his YouTube videos, where he explains various aspects

Orchestration for String Quartet: Tips and Tricks

If you are a composer or an arranger who wants to write music for string quartet, you might be wondering how to make the most of this versatile and expressive ensemble. A string quartet consists of two violins, a viola, and a cello, and it can produce a wide range of sounds, textures and moods. But how do you orchestrate effectively for these four instruments? Here are some tips and tricks to help you create engaging and beautiful music for string quartet. 1. Know your instruments. Each string instrument has its own characteristics, such as range, timbre, dynamics and articulation. You should be familiar with the capabilities and limitations of each instrument and the players' preferences. For example, string players generally prefer keys with sharps rather than flats, as they are easier to play on their instruments. You should also know how to write idiomatic parts that suit the natural tendencies of each instrument, such as using open strings, harmonics or double stops. 2. Use d

Choosing a Music Notation Program

Music notation is the process of writing down musical symbols and instructions that represent how a piece of music should be played or sung. Music notation software , also known as scorewriters, are computer programs that help you create, edit and print sheet music. They can also play back your music with realistic sounds and export your scores to various formats. But how do you choose the best notation program for music? There are many factors to consider, such as: - Your budget: Some notation programs are free or low-cost, while others require a subscription or a one-time purchase. You should compare the features and benefits of each option and decide what suits your needs and wallet. - Your skill level: Some notation programs are designed for beginners or students who want to learn the basics of music theory and notation. Others are more advanced and offer professional tools for composers, arrangers and engravers. You should choose a program that matches your current level of knowle

Using Connecting Tones to Create New Chord Progressions

I'm going to share with you a simple but effective technique to spice up your chord progressions: using connecting tones. What are connecting tones? Connecting tones are notes that link two chords together by creating a smooth transition between them. They can be either chord tones (the root, 3rd or 5th of a chord) or non-chord tones (any other note that is not part of the chord). Why use connecting tones? Connecting tones can make your chord progressions sound more interesting, melodic and coherent. They can also help you avoid awkward jumps or gaps between chords and create a sense of direction and movement in your harmony. How to use connecting tones? There are many ways to use connecting tones, but one of the most common and easy methods is to follow these steps: 1. Choose a chord progression that you want to work on. It can be any progression that you like or are familiar with, such as a I-IV-V-I or a ii-V-I. 2. Identify the highest note of each chord in your progression. This

How to Compose Music: A Beginner's Guide

Have you ever wanted to create your own music? Do you have a passion for melodies, harmonies and rhythms? If so, you might be interested in learning how to compose music. Composing music is the art of arranging sounds in time to create a musical piece. It can be done for various purposes, such as personal expression, entertainment, education or cultural preservation.  Composing music can also be a rewarding and fun activity that stimulates your creativity and imagination. But how do you start composing music? What do you need to know and do? In this blog post, I will share tips and steps to help you compose your first musical piece. What You Need to Compose Music Before you start composing music, you need some basic tools and skills. Here are some of them: - Musical instrument: You don't need to be an expert at playing an instrument, but having one can help you experiment with different sounds and ideas. You can use any instrument you like or can access, such as a piano, guitar, ke

How to Memorize Your Lines for a Play in 5 Easy Steps

Memorizing your lines for a play can be a daunting task. You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of text you have to remember and the pressure of performing in front of an audience. But don’t worry, there are some simple and effective ways to help you master your lines in no time. In this article, we will show you how to use repetition, association, visualization, emotion and practice to memorize your lines for a play with ease and confidence. Step 1: Rehearsal The first step to memorizing your lines is to rehearse them as much as possible. Pay attention to the other parts in the play and learn about the context in which your character exists. Don’t just listen for the cues that signal your entrance. When there is a dress rehearsal, stay the entire time and watch the play. This will help you understand the flow and structure of the story and how your lines fit into it. Step 2: Context The second step to memorizing your lines is to understand their meaning and purpose. Listen carefully t